September 27, 2022

JF2945: Syndication Success Starts with Making Noise ft. Morgan Henry

Morgan Henry is a civil engineering inspector who began investing in the stock market in 2019. She quickly realized she loved researching and working to seek out the best opportunities but craved a more exciting asset class. In 2021, she decided to cash out of the stock market and use that money to get a real estate mentor — and she hasn’t looked back since. 


Today, Morgan is the founder of Cassini Capital Investments, which focuses on multifamily syndication. She is a GP of 404 units and asset manager of 428 units. In this episode, she shares the biggest lessons she took away from her mentorship program, how she found her current partner through Facebook, and her networking tips for CRE beginners. 


Morgan Henry | Real Estate Background

  • Founder of Cassini Capital Investments, which focuses on multifamily syndication.
  • Portfolio:
    • GP of 404 units
    • Asset manager of 428 units
  • Works full-time in construction management in Civil Engineering.
  • Based in: Dallas, TX
  • Say hi to her at:
  • Greatest lesson: There are a million ways to make money. I found a lot of my recent success by staying open-minded and taking on any challenge where I can learn and grow my business while providing value for someone else. I’m not caught up in the shiny object syndrome or obsessed with getting a slice of the GP. There are different roads you can take to be successful. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses early on and find someone to compliment them.



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Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I'm Ash Patel, and I'm with today's guest, Morgan Henry. Morgan is joining us from Dallas, Texas. She is the founder of Cassini Capital Investment, which focuses on multifamily syndication. Morgan works full-time in construction management and civil engineering, and is a GP on 400 units, and an asset manager on 428 units. Morgan, thank you for joining us, and how are you today?

Morgan Henry: Thanks for having me. I'm honored to be here.

Ash Patel: The pleasure is ours, Morgan. Before we get started, can you give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and what you're focused on now?

Morgan Henry: Yeah, so a little bit about me. I graduated from University of Central Oklahoma, with a degree in criminal justice. I was also a collegiate athlete for four years, so I dedicate a lot of my work ethic that I have now from that.

Ash Patel: What sports did you play?

Morgan Henry: I did rowing. The boats, not horses. [laughs]

Ash Patel: Very cool. So criminal justice... How did you end up in real estate?

Morgan Henry: So once I graduated college, I really struggled to find something that I was super-passionate about. And I do love my current job as an inspector in civil engineering. That's the first job where I was actually like, "Yes, I enjoy this." And I love being active. So I started in the stock market in 2019, and I realized I loved doing the research that I was doing to try and find the best opportunities... But it was just so boring. Just buying a stock, and then it sitting there; I wanted something more. And I had been interested in real estate for a while, but I never really knew where to start... So my journey began in late 2020, early 2021, where I decided to cash out of the stock market and use that money to get a mentor. And I hit the ground running from there.

Ash Patel: Did you do it yourself, or did you have people that did it with you?

Morgan Henry: I did it myself. Of course, when you buy into a mentoring program, you have a whole community, right? So of course I wasn't alone. But for me, I am the only person in my family who is in real estate. I do not come from a real estate background. I knew absolutely nothing of this field. So talk about starting from ground zero and building up... It was a huge learning curve for me.

Ash Patel: Morgan, you were in Civil Engineering and Construction Management. What did that job entail?

Morgan Henry: As an inspector, I work out in the field alongside the contractors and make sure that they build plans per spec. And the projects that I focus on our roadways, bridges, utilities, stuff along lines like that. I build the streets that you drive on.

Ash Patel: Alright, so it wasn't constructing strip malls or high rises. So much real estate exposure there.

Morgan Henry: No.

Ash Patel: Alright, you get through this mentorship program, and what were some of the big takeaways from that?

Morgan Henry: Some of the big takeaways were don't do it by yourself. When I was about 9 to 10 months into my journey, I have this mindset of keeping my head down, grinding it out, don't let negative outside energy get to you... But when 2022 rolled around, I kind of lifted my head up and I thought, "I'm kind of alone right now. This is not an alone place to be. This is a team sport." So my mindset changed beginning of 2022, and I thought, "If I'm going to be successful, I've got to make some noise. People need to know who I am." So I started networking and getting out there and putting my name and just letting people know that, "Hey, this is what I'm doing. Something like syndication exists if you're ever interested in real estate."

Ash Patel: Alright, so you weren't really doing it yet. You just came out of a mentorship program. How does one start networking, saying "Hey, look at me"? You don't have a track record, and it's something you want to do. So what advice do you give the Best Ever listeners that are wanting to start out? What networking advice would you give them?

Morgan Henry: Number one, I think, that helped me the most, was recognizing my strengths and weaknesses early on, and finding someone to complement that. I found my current sponsor/partner through a Facebook post. It was as simple as that. And I just asked the question, "How can I add value to you? How can I help your business, all the while, I also keep learning and growing?" So it was as simple as a Facebook post. He reached out, we jumped on a call, we introduced each other... He wanted me to underwrite a property to see where I was at, and he liked it, we decided to move forward, and that property that I initially underwrote was the deal that we just closed on last month.

Ash Patel: Congrats. So that's your first property in real estate.

Morgan Henry: Yep.

Ash Patel: Alright. Tell me more about the dynamics. Is this person an existing syndicator? Have they been around for a while?

Yes, he has been around for years now. He works closely with Mark Kenney, with Think Multifamily. And it's really exciting, because the deal that we just closed on, Mark Kenney's on the deal, too. And they work closely together.

Ash Patel: Is this a one-time partnership? Or are you going to be working together for future deals as well?

Morgan Henry: We will be working together for the foreseeable future. I understand that partnerships come and go, goals change, but for right now, the opportunity to work with an experienced team has just really propelled me forward with learning and understanding how this business works. So for right now, I'm solely focused on him and his company, and learning how to manage assets.

Ash Patel: Understood. Morgan, can you take us through the process from that Facebook post, to underwriting, to how you got to closing on this property? I want to know your role, what your tasks were, and how you got to where you are today.

Morgan Henry: So after our call, we did the whole underwriting... So after we decided to work together, he put me on one of his properties; we still have it... A 100-unit portfolio in Kalamazoo. So because that's a portfolio, we kind of managed it a little different. We created different reports for that, so I began to learn the process of reading financial reports from the property management company, learning what questions to ask, what to look out for; poking holes in everything.. Because that's your job as a asset manager - you want to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and to ask questions. Always ask questions. If you're not sure, ask a question.

And then from there, the tasks just started to grow. At first it was reading financial reports, then it was communicating with lenders, and providing documents that they may require on a quarterly or monthly basis. And then really engaging with the rest of the team. And then from there, it's just like, "Hey, here's another property... There you go..."

Ash Patel: I love the initiative, and I love the moral of the story is just add value to others, and see where that can take you. Can we dive into the numbers on this property? The one you just closed on last month.

Morgan Henry: Oh, yeah.

Ash Patel: What was the purchase price?

Morgan Henry: 44.5 million.

Ash Patel: Okay. And how much did you raise for that?

Morgan Henry: I actually was not able to raise any money for this property, full transparency. And that's okay. I'm 15 months into this journey. I understand that raising capital takes time.

Ash Patel: Hold on. I wasn't picking on you. I meant how much did you collectively raise.

Morgan Henry: Oh, we had to raise 12.7.

Ash Patel: Okay. And what's the play on this property? Is it value-add, class B, C?

Morgan Henry: Class C value-add.

Ash Patel: Where's it located?

Morgan Henry: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Ash Patel: And you are not in Baton Rouge...

Morgan Henry: No, I am in Dallas.

Ash Patel: Okay. So are you all remotely managing this property?

Morgan Henry: No, I don't believe anyone is located in Baton Rouge except for our property management team.

Ash Patel: Okay, so you are remotely managing the property.
Morgan Henry: Yes, yes.

Ash Patel: Okay. What's the CapEx required for renovations, upgrades?

Morgan Henry: Our CapEx budget, I believe, was around 1.7.

Ash Patel: Okay, so that's not bad. Roughly 3%, 4% of the total purchase price. And with the $12.7 million raised, what's the return to investors projected to be?

Morgan Henry: We are projecting, off the top of my head, 107% total return. Cash on cash was around 12%, I believe... And when we looked at this property, when you looked at the current rent roll, versus what the market was doing, we were substantially below. And now that we've gotten into the weeds of it, after closing, we can understand why those rents were the price that they're at now. So we're working on cleaning up the property, getting it nice and pretty, and dealing with some other operational stuff, so we can really drive those rents up to what the market is performing at.

Ash Patel: How many years is the anticipated hold?

Morgan Henry: Six.

Ash Patel: Okay. And over time, it's roughly a 12% IRR...

Morgan Henry: Yes.

Ash Patel: Okay. And what did you learn from watching this group raise $12.7 million?

Morgan Henry: Something I learned... Just the presence that they have in the industry. It goes back to putting yourself out there and just letting people know your name and networking, and telling people what you do. You've got to put in a lot of legwork upfront, and then there comes a point in the journey where it starts to shift, and then all of a sudden the money starts coming to you, and you don't have to go to the money. So that right there I think has been the biggest lesson that I've learned.

Break: [00:12:40.16] to [00:14:40.09]

Ash Patel: I love what you said earlier, "I started making noise." That's great.

Morgan Henry: Yeah. Get loud.

Ash Patel: So having seen this process all the way through, what are you going to do on the next deal to try to raise capital?

Morgan Henry: Right now I'm filling the funnel and just connecting with all different kinds of people. However, the one thing I have found with that is learning where to network, because there's a lot of business groups out there where it turns into a bunch of sales pitches; you kind of take a step back and you think "This is not exactly what I wanted."

So it's a bunch of trial and error, figuring out where to go and the right people to meet and connect with... But for the next property, it's just perfecting the pitch and being able to answer any question that is thrown my way. And if I don't have an answer, find one. Ask. And yeah, just continuing to expand my network.

Ash Patel: Morgan, in your bio it's stated that you are an asset manager of 428 units. Is that the property you just closed on?

Morgan Henry: I actually helped manage over 800 units. We just closed on the 404-unit in Baton Rouge. Earlier this year we closed on 328 units; that one I came in on the back end of it, so I wasn't a part of that deal. I was still helping with the 100-unit portfolio... But now as of last month, I took on the portfolio, the 328 and the 404-unit to help manage.

Ash Patel: So you essentially manage the property management company?

Morgan Henry: Yes. I've taken on a bunch of the smaller, but essential tasks. So staying up to date on construction projects, where are we at with this? What do you need help with? What do we need to get off the ground? Poking holes in the financial reports, "Hey, what does this number mean? What can we do here to make it better?" And really, what you find is a lot of it is the same throughout properties. But then of course, you have different projects for each property. So learning how to organize what you can expect, versus this property, specifically.

Ash Patel: Morgan, what are some of the thorns in your side in managing these property management companies?

Morgan Henry: I think the biggest thorn in my side is myself. And I think that's because I have learned a tremendous amount over the past seven months since doing this. And it's one of those things where when you make a mistake, it's not a bad mistake, but you look at it and you think "Oh, Morgan, you knew that. You should have known that. Why did that happen?" So me, for sure. I'm the biggest thorn in my side.

Ash Patel: That's an honest and humble answer. What are thorns dealing with the PM company?

Morgan Henry: Not hearing back in a timely manner, I would say. I almost feel like I come across like I'm bombarding them asking them for questions. But really, it's -- we're on a bit of a timeline here. If you don't have an update, okay; I need you to at least say that, and then tell me what you're doing to fix the situation. So timely communication is big, between the asset management team and the property management.

Ash Patel: How do you implement a solution to fix that?

Morgan Henry: I'm just super-nice in my emails... Like, "Hey, I'm just following up on this matter. It's been two days or so. Do you have an update?"

Ash Patel: I didn't ask the cause of it. I asked for the solution. How do you make them respond more timely?

Morgan Henry: For me, I just keep pressing them. And if it's not working, I bring in a higher person. My sponsor has to step in and say, "Hey, this is immediate. We need immediate action. Today." That's what I do.

Ash Patel: Yeah, I spent 15 years in the corporate world, and I'm trying to think back to those days... And it was a long time ago. But in a lot of our contracts, we had SLAs, standard language agreements... Or I don't remember what it was. But anyway... In there, there was timelines for responses, and communication, and fixes. So do you think having a sit-down, just with you, in the PM company, and maybe establishing some guidelines, or some standard practices, and "Hey, listen, if I send you some form of communication, are you able to respond by this time?"

Ash Patel: I really like that idea. I haven't thought of that before. I have my own weekly meetings with certain people at the pm company for construction projects and stuff like that for a weekly update before our asset management call the following day or two. But that's the first time I've heard that, so I'm gonna look into that and figure out if there's a way I can --

Ash Patel: Yeah... It makes you more self sufficient instead of relying on bringing others in. You find your own solutions and you add even more value to your team, right? So listen, I get the being nice thing, but when it's time to not be nice, it's time to find solutions, right? So maybe that helps. What's a lesson you would tell yourself when you got into real estate? What's a learning moment, or advice you would have given your beginner self?

Morgan Henry: Do what I'm doing now, but earlier. I would have wished that I hadn't kept my head down for so long. It's been 15 months; I really haven't been doing this for that long. But if I could go back to day one, it would be to be more outgoing and outspoken earlier on, and be able to partner with experienced people earlier in the process.

Ash Patel: Yeah, I love it. And I think what you've accomplished in 15 months is incredible, and could be a good roadmap for others to follow. In terms of what you're doing next, what's your role going to be on future deals?

Morgan Henry: I have really enjoyed asset management. I love the communication that you build between you and the team, the organization skills that you acquire, and seeing the property turn into this vision that you have for it, when all of these things are put into place. So I can see myself doing some asset management in the future. I like that.

Ash Patel: Good. And then Morgan, somebody that follows in your footsteps basically adds value to an existing team. What can they be expected to be compensated? Is it part of the GP? Is it salary, or both?

Morgan Henry: Both. It's really going to depend on the structure of whoever you're working with; if you can bring a lot of value to the table, yeah, you can get a slice of the GDP. Something that I've had a conversation with myself was to not get caught up in getting a slice of the GP, or making the most money. For me personally, it was all about learning and growing, because this is a marathon, not a sprint. I want to take every opportunity I can to learn and grow. So getting a slice of the GP - that's cool. You can also be on the asset management side like me, and earn a percentage of the collections you've made for that month. Or if the person is very established with their company, they could put you on a payroll. So it's really going to depend on who you're working with.

Ash Patel: Yeah. I love your advice. And really, you set out to just learn, and that should be the focus, versus "Hey, what's in it for me?" So thank you for sharing that. Morgan, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?

Morgan Henry: Be open-minded with taking on any opportunity that you can. Like we said, it's all about learning and growing, when you're first starting out. Second, is fall in love with the process. You're gonna have a lot of ups and downs. When you're up, you're up. But when you're down, you're down. But we're all here to be the best version of ourselves, so enjoy the ride.

Ash Patel: I love it. Morgan, are you ready for the Best Ever lightning round?

Morgan Henry: Oh, geez... Okay, I think...

Ash Patel: You don't sound ready, but let's do it.

Morgan Henry: Alright, I'm ready!

Ash Patel: What's the Best Ever book you recently read?

Morgan Henry: Oh, my goodness... Where to start? Off the top of my head, I go to a mindset book. He's one of my favorite authors, Ryan Holiday. Ego is the Enemy, and The Obstacle is The Way.

Ash Patel: Morgan what's the Best Ever way you like to give back?

Morgan Henry: Right now it's free content. And I love being able to answer questions about real estate to anyone who is interested or already involved. So free content, and then down the line. I have an idea for a nonprofit that I would eventually like to start... And man, if I could get that off the ground, I would love to change some lives on that one.

Ash Patel: Morgan, how can the Best Ever listeners reach out to you?

Morgan Henry: Through LinkedIn, full name, Morgan Henry, or my email, morgan [at]

Ash Patel: Morgan, thank you for your time today sharing your story. Collegiate athlete, didn't love what you were doing, went to a mastermind, started making some noise, and just wanted to add value to others, and in 15 months you've accomplished a lot. So thank you again.

Morgan Henry: Thank you for having me.

Ash Patel: Best Ever listeners, thank you for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a five star review. Share the podcast with someone you think can benefit from it. Also, follow, subscribe and have a Best Ever day.

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